Nobody in Kentucky football history has been on the field for more offensive plays than the late Jared Lorenzen. For 1,793 snaps over his four seasons, Lorenzen took the field and ran the UK offense, also setting the school record for most offensive plays in a season in 2000, when he was on the field for 635.
Despite playing his last game for the Wildcats in 2003, Lorenzen’s name still shows up prominently in the record books for both UK football and the Southeastern Conference.
The quarterback’s legacy as the fun-loving “Hefty Lefty” has been celebrated both locally and nationally this week after the Kentucky native’s death Wednesday at age 38. His highlight reel is evidence of the athletic gifts the strong-armed QB brought to the field at UK from 2000 through 2003. But the record book, though dotted with only 15 wins over his four seasons, is lasting proof of a college career of rare achievement all these years later.
▪ One of Lorenzen’s most notable UK records is for most passing yards in a game, with 528 in UK’s 34-30 loss to Georgia in 2000, a game he almost missed because of a thumb injury suffered in practice that week. Afterward, Georgia Coach Jim Donnan was asked if he thought that UK might have made up the injury.
“I don’t see any reason why they would deceive anybody,” Donnan said. “If he did (injure the thumb), he ought to hurt it every Thursday.”
After the game, Lorenzen expressed pride in breaking a Kentucky record held by Tim Couch, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1998.
“It’s neat that I finally have something up on Tim,” Lorenzen told the Herald-Leader’s Mark Story.
▪ Lorenzen attempted more passes than anyone in school history with 1,514, which puts him 236 ahead of Andre Woodson’s 1,278. He also holds the record for passes attempted in a season, 559, which he threw in 2000 — six ahead of the 553 attempted by Couch during 1998.
▪ Of those attempts, Lorenzen completed 862 throughout his career, good for the school record. He also sits in fourth place for most completions in a season, with 321 in 2000.
▪ For passing yards, Lorenzen’s name appears several more times in the UK record book, most notably as the career leader with 10,354. Lorenzen’s total ranks eighth in SEC history — one spot ahead of Mississippi’s Eli Manning, the QB he would later play backup to with the NFL’s New York Giants. Lorenzen passed for the fourth-most yards in a UK season (3,687 in 2000) and, as referenced above, the most passing yards in a single game.
▪ The UK Hall of Famer is second at Kentucky and ninth in SEC history in career touchdown passes with 78, just one behind Woodson’s 79. Woodson and Lorenzen are tied for second in most touchdowns thrown in a game, with Lorenzen throwing six against Vanderbilt in 2001, one behind Couch’s seven, which he did against Indiana in 1997 and Louisville in 1998.
▪ Lorenzen is second all-time with 15 career 300-yard passing games, and has the third- and fourth-most 300-yard games in a season with eight in 2000 and five in 2001. Lorenzen is tied with Couch for second place in consecutive 300-yard games, with five, seven behind Couch’s record of 12.
▪ One of Lorenzen’s most unique records is this: He ranks third for longest pass in school history — and it was the only pass in the top five that did not go for a touchdown. On UK’s first play from scrimmage on his record-setting day against Georgia in 2000, Lorenzen connected with tight end Derek Smith for 89 yards. Later the same day, Lorenzen completed an 86-yard TD pass to Ernest Simms and a 75-yarder to Quentin McCord.
All of this from a redshirt freshman quarterback playing in the rain, with an injured thumb against the nation’s 12th-ranked team.
“We made so many big plays,” Lorenzen said that October day. “And we were up 13-0. Those are games you want to win. We played well, but this was one we let get away in my mind.”
▪ Lorenzen’s upside came, of course, with some downside: His talent and confidence sometimes led to recklessness. Lorenzen ranks third among UK quarterbacks with 41 career interceptions (behind Randy Jenkins’ 53 and Rick Norton’s 44). He shares the record for most picks in a season with 21 as a freshman in 2000, a total that tied Dave Bair’s in 1967.
Conversely, Lorenzen is fourth all-time for most consecutive passes without an interception, with 152 in the 2000 season. Woodson set the record of 325 across 2006 and 2007.